Monthly Archives:: June 2012

Audiobook Week – Listen Up!

June 29, 2012 Books 2



Friday: Listen Up!
Where do you learn about great audiobook titles? Find reviews? Buy your audiobooks? Share your secrets with the rest of us!

I learn about great audiobook titles from you guys! I expect I get most of my recommendations from other book bloggers, whether they reviewed the audiobook itself or they reviewed a book and it sounded good. I usually look up audiobooks versions of books I want to read to see if I like the narrator and look up reviews of them to see if they are good. I use the Book Blogger Search Engine some. I use AudioFile some. Occasionally I’ll ask on Twitter for recommendations.

I get my audiobooks mainly through Audible. I have the one credit a month plan, and I also take advantage of sales (which I will do today! Hurray for paydays!). I also get audiobooks from my library, who participate with OverDrive. Once I figured out that any audiobook I got on my iPod from the library didn’t expire if I didn’t delete it, it was on. I have a ton of books on my iPod that I really need to listen to. I have occasionally downloaded one from Barnes & Noble, when I have a coupon or something. I just always forget about it. And of course, in the summer, I get two a week from AudioFile’s Sync. This week’s titles are THE AMULET OF SAMARKAND and TALES FROM THE ARABIAN NIGHTS if you are curious. They are free and they will have more every week of the summer. Check it out here…. I’m really looking forward to next week’s selection; The Woman in White read by Ian Holm!!!

So, there you have it. All my secrets, laid bare. How about you? Where do you get your reviews? Your audiobooks? Share the scoop!

See Devourer of Books for more Audiobook Week goodness.

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Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry – Audiobook Review

June 29, 2012 Books 4

In honor of audiobook week, I’m rerunning my reviews of some of my favorite audiobooks. Lonesome Dove holds a special place in my heart, as you’ll see below.


  

If there is one story I have grown up with, besides Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, and Narnia, it is Lonesome Dove.  Which probably sounds strange, to lump Lonesome Dove in with those beloved children’s books, since admittedly it is far from a children’s classic, but it is a classic and a product of my youth, so there it is.  My uncle absolutely loves, no adores, no… something stronger than that… I don’t know how to describe it.  He can quote the movie from beginning to end.  I think he secretly wishes he had been a cowboy.  And he reveres Gus.  So, it goes without saying that I grew up listening to the vast wisdom and wit of Captain Augustus Mcrae, one of the immortal cowboys of Lonesome Dove.  

When I was about 14, and prone to reading long, epic novels of vast scope and ideal, (I’m trying to be witty myself here, can ya tell?), I decided I would read Lonesome Dove.  Get all the details of the story, so to speak, so I could give my uncle all the little details he didn’t get from the movie.  I don’t think I had even watched the movie, I knew most of the story because of my uncle.   I got my hands on a copy and I started the trip.  And my, my, what a trip this book is.  I raced through the book, like 14 years are able to do, and went on to read the rest of the series as it came out.  

Lonesome Dove is about so much. It is more than a western, more than a work of historical fiction, more than romance, more than an epic road trip, more than an adventure.  It comes down to two men and their strange friendship, for two men are less alike than Gus and Call.  The book starts in the dusty little down of Lonesome Dove, Texas down near the borderlands and moves steadily north through prairie, desert, Indian infested land, snakes, buffalo and takes you all up to the wilds of Montana on a cattle drive.  The characters in this novel are unforgettable.  I can rave about Gus all day (and I’m sure any woman who has ever read this book came away a little bit in love with him) but there are other amazing characters living in these pages.  Heroes.  Outlaws.  Indians.  Whores.  Ladies.  Settlers.  This book is the story of the Wild Wild West and is beautifully written, dramatic and unforgettable.  I dare you to read this book and not laugh, cry, and fall in love.  

I just can’t get enough of Gus and Call and all the boys (and girls!) of Lonesome Dove.  

And I still can’t.  When Amy (of My Friend fame) challenged her readers to join in a readalong of Lonesome Dove, I knew I had to join in.  I have since seen the movie, several times, and this story remains near and dear to my heart.  I worried about exactly how I would do it, with RIP going on, and all the other review books that are stacked on my desk (cringe), but then I remembered.  One of the first audiobooks I ever got from Audible was Lonesome Dove!  And I had never listened to it.  Problem solved!  So I decided to listen to the audio, read by actor and western novelist himself, Lee Horsley.  

And what a fantastic journey it was, all over again.  It was even more, for me, reading it again almost 18 years later.   The things that jumped out at me!  The treatment and lives of the women of the old west were especially interesting.  There is so much to this story, I know there is no way I can hit on it all.  You become invested in these characters along their journey.  Gus and Call and all the boys came alive in Lee Horsley’s voice.  Now, this isn’t the best audio production I’ve ever heard.  It was the first time I heard background noise in any audiobook I have ever listened to.  I didn’t care.  Mr. Horsley made these characters live.  And breathe.  And love and hate and kill and walk and talk and more.   I’m sure I have no adequately described this book, but I know I have described how it makes me feel.  Lonesome Dove is on my all time favorites list, will you add it to yours?  As USA Today says:  

“If you read only one western novel in your life, read Lonesome Dove.”  

*Note: Amazingly enough, I cannot find an audio CD of Lonesome Dove anywhere, they only have *gasp* cassette tapes.  I downloaded my copy from Audible.  Either way you read it, I still highly recommend it.  The copy I link to here is a new edition that came out in June of this year.  The edition in my upper picture is from 2000.  The one below is the new edition.  Isn’t the new cover gorgeous?  It looks like all of McMurtry’s books got a similar treatment and I find myself wishing I didn’t own my copies, so I could get the new ones!  Silly me….  

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What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty

June 28, 2012 Audio Books, Book Reviews 6

Alice has it all. She’s 29 years old. She’s married to Nick, a man she adores. She’s pregnant with her first child, nervous, but excited to welcome this new life into her own. She already adores that little tiny life growing inside her. She has a mother, a sister, an honorary grandmother… life is pretty perfect. So, when she opens her eyes on the floor of a gym, a wicked headache blooming behind her eyes, and she only recognizes Jane, the woman she works with, she’s a little freaked out. When she’s told she was in “her weekly spin class” and that she fell and hit her head on the neighboring bike and that it’s 2008 and she’s 39, she understandably freaks out a little bit. Then, she finds out she has 3 kids, she doesn’t work, her mother has married her atrocious father-in-law, and that her husband hates her and they are getting a divorce. And she doesn’t remember a bit of it. Things are… confusing.

Elizabeth, Alice’s sister, feels like she has nothing. She’s married to a lovely man named Ben, she has a tenuous relationship with her sister Alice. She loves her nieces and nephew, but something is missing. She wants nothing more than to be a mother. She obsesses over it. But after 7 years, 12 IVF cycles, and several miscarriages, she’s ready to give up. Motherhood is not in the cards for her and she is bitter. After an incident at the local coffee shop, she has to see a therapist, and her story is told in her “homework for Dr. Hodges.” She just went and had the last embryo implanted and she already knows this one won’t take either. She is completely without hope.

Liane Moriarty’s novel, What Alice Forgot, feels a little like chick-lit. I really didn’t realize it was until I got into the story. It’s been quite awhile since I read any chick-lit. I grew tired of the formulas, the stock characters, and the fluffy story-lines. Apparently chick-lit has changed quite a bit since I stopped reading it, because this book enraptured me! I sped read it in the last 3 days, not only because this review was due, but because I couldn’t put it down. Moriarty’s characters grabbed my heart and wouldn’t let it go until the last. 39-year-old Alice, acting like the 29-year-old Alice, is so lovely. She’s such a wonderful, conflicted, heartbreaker of a character. Her 29-year-old self is so endearing, with her complete adoration for her husband Nick, her completely true-to-life feelings on motherhood and marriage, and her, just, joy in living. As she slowly discovers the changes that led to her marriage breakup, the three lovely, crazy, kids she has no memory of, and the complete change in her relationship with her sister, she held my heart in her hands. I felt an instant kinship with her. And Elizabeth was, well, I wanted to smack her, but at the same time, I’ve felt myself there, wanting a child more than anything and not understanding why I couldn’t carry a child. I’ve had a miscarriage, granted, only one, so I’ve only had a small taste of the pain Elizabeth has, and it was so completely believable. Liane Moriarty’s characters are so well drawn. Only a couple didn’t feel fully realized, and that may be only because I didn’t identify with them as strongly as I did Alice and Elizabeth.

Due to time constraints, I chose to listen to the audio edition of this book instead of reading the novel. Tamara Lovatt-Smith was a great choice to read What Alice Forgot. The novel is set in Sydney, Australia, and Lovatt-Smith’s accent was pleasant and not at all distracting. I thought having her read it a plus, because instead of my own broad Southern accent telling the story, I had a real Australian accent in there; always a plus. She doesn’t change for voice for any characters, but she has an appealing way of reading that I quite enjoyed. The production value was great. All in all, I’m really glad I listened to the audio. It’s the way to go with this one.

If you’ve read the book or are at all interested, I encourage you to join the discussion over at the BlogHer Book Club. They are always interesting and very insightful. It will go on for 4 weeks, so you have time to get a copy and join in!

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own. Penguin did supply a copy of the book, but I acquired my own copy of the audiobook from Audible.

What Alice Forgot
By Liane Moriarty
Read by Tamara Lovatt-Smith

ISBN-13: 9781101555019
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Publication date: 9/20/2011
Length: 13 hours and 32 minutes
Edition description: Unabridged

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Audiobook Week – What Makes a Good Narrator?

June 28, 2012 Books 6

Thursday: What Makes a Good Narrator?
Who are your favorite narrators and why? What do you look for in a narrator? Have a preference between male or female narrators?
Alternate suggestion: Narration preferences – single narrator, multiple narrators, full cast, etc.

Oooo lovely. I can do a bullet list!

What makes a good reader?

    1. Voice. A lovely, easy to listen to voice is so important. I need to be able to understand what they are saying and I prefer a reader with a nice tone.
    1. Changes. The best readers help you make it obvious when a different character is talking. This can be something as similar has deepening or making higher a characters’ voice based on their sex. Some (like Jim Dale) give each character their own voice, but I don’t really expect that of all readers. If I can tell male from female, I’m a happy listener. Some readers are great even if they don’t do this, but I love it, love it, love it when they do.
    1. There was a time when I did not enjoy full cast readings. Then I met The Help, The Historian, The Thirteenth Tale, and The Chaos Walking Trilogy. Now, I’m hooked. They really add something to novels with multiple point-of-views.
    1. I love it when a readers accent matches the setting. My Southern accent does a poor job of supplying British, Scottish, Irish, Australian, French, etc, accents. So that definitely adds something for me.
    1. I love it when it’s obvious the reader is loving the book as much as you are. Some readers, well, you can just tell they are there for the paycheck. Others are there as much for the love of reading as they are the pay. It shows and it adds something to the experience. I think I prefer Terry Pratchett’s books in audio (at least the ones read by Stephen Briggs) (haven’t listened to any read by the other guy yet) simply because Stephen Briggs just sounds like he’s having the time of his life.
  • Some favorite narrators:

    Nick Podehl
    Cassandra Campbell
    Wil Wheaton
    Suzi Doughtery
    Jenna Lamia
    Stephen Briggs
    Neil Gaiman
    Davina Porter
    Josephine Bailey
    Scott Brick

    What do you like in a narrator? Who are some of your favorites?

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    Audiobook Week – Mid-Week Audiobook Meme

    June 27, 2012 Audio Books, Books 13

    Wednesday: Mid-week Audiobook Week Meme
    This will not be up until the morning of Wednesday, June 27th, but it will be short and fast, so check in and join the fun.

    Current/most recent audiobook:

    What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty, read by Tamara Lovatt-Smith
    A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness, read by Jennifer Ikeda

    Yes, I am listening to two audiobooks.

    Impressions:

    What Alice Forgot: The story is sort of getting on my nerves, but Lovatt-Smith is pulling me through. She has a lovely voice, even if she doesn’t change it for characters.

    A Discovery of Witches: I’m rereading this to get read for Shadow of Night (WHICH CAME IN AUDIO IN THE MAIL YESTERDAY! WOOT! Sorry.) and I actually think I’m enjoying it more than when I read it. I love the way Jennifer Ikeda reads and her characterization.

    Current/most recent favorite audiobook:

    It’s hard to pick; I’ve loved all the audiobooks I’ve finished this year. My favorite for the year remains Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.

    Favorite narrator you’ve discovered recently:

    Wil Wheaton! I’ve listened to two books this year that he’s read (Ready Player One and Peter & Max by Bill Willingham) and I just loved his reading.

    One title from your TBL (to be listened) stack, or your audio wishlist:

    Oh my gosh, there are so many! And Audible has a $5 sale going on! Eek! Okay, first one that comes to mind is The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. I’ve been wanting to reread it for forever but the only audio available was abridged. An unabridged version has finally come available. It’s read by a new-to-me reader; David Colacci. I hope it’s good! I LOVED that book.

    Your audio dream team (what book or author would you LOVE to see paired with a certain narrator, can already exist or not):

    Oh my gosh, I can’t even think. I’ll listen to anything read by Neil Gaiman, Wil Wheaton, Jennifer Ikeda, Nick Podehl, MacLeod Andrews, Angela Dawe, and on and on and on.

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    The School of Essential Ingredients by Erika Bauermeister – Audiobook Review

    June 27, 2012 Audio Books, Books 7

    In honor of audiobook week, I’m rerunning my reviews of some of my favorite audiobooks. The School of Essential Ingredients was the first time I heard the magic that is Cassandra Campbell’s voice. This magical book held me captivated to the very end.


    I downloaded this from the library on a whim.  I knew it was a food book, which I knew I normally love, but I only kind of knew what it was about.  I’d seen reviews on blogs, but I pretty much just skimmed them (thinking I wanted to read it and didn’t want to ruin anything!) but didn’t retain much of anything about what the book was about.  I knew I liked the cover and I thought “what the heck” and “I need something to listen to” and “well, all the books I really want to listen to are checked out” so “I’ll get this one.”

    Let me tell you.  It was the BEST book decision I had made in quite awhile and I think of the main ingredients in pulling me out of my slump.  Pun fully intended.

    The first impression I had, as I started up the book on my iPod, was Oh My Goodness where has this narrator been all my life?  Cassandra Campbell has an amazing voice and was perfect for this book.  I would (seriously) put her up there with Neil Gaiman, who I have always said I would gladly love to listen to him read the phone book.  Her voice is wonderful.   But I instantly fell in love with this book because of the story.  Or stories, rather, for The School of Essential Ingredients is, essentially, a collection of stories about a group of people who attend a cooking class in Lillian’s Restaurant, every Monday night.

    These people are all searching for something.  The first of these students, Claire, is a young mother searching for the self she lost when her children were born.  Antonia, a beautiful, young Italian woman is searching for away to adapt to life in America.  Tom is a lonely widower, just looking to learn how to survive without the love of his life, his wife, who he lost to breast cancer.  Carl and Helen are looking for each other in the storm-tossed sea of their marriage.  Chloe who is just looking to belong and Ian, looking for love.  Each character’s story is as beautiful and touching as the first one, about Lillian herself and her search for the mother who is there, but not.

    And then, there’s the food.  If you can pick up this book and not come away hungry, I’m afraid there is something wrong with you.  The flavors, the aromas, and the textures are all lovingly detailed and mouthwatering.  Each meal sounds sumptuous and delicious; the characters tales the fine wine holding it all together.  I hate that I waited so long to read this book.

    And, as I said, Cassandra Campbell’s reading is perfect for this book.  If you love food books, audiobooks, or marvelous character studies, you can’t go wrong with The School of Essential Ingredients.

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    Audiobook Week – So You Want to Review Audiobooks….

    June 26, 2012 Books 8

    Tuesday: So You Want to Review Audiobooks…
    Discuss the essentials of audiobook reviewing. What do you make sure to include? What do you want to see when you read other people’s reviews?

    I don’t exactly consider myself any sort of authority on reviewing any kind of book, audio or not, so I am just going to discuss what I appreciate in someone else’s review. I guess these are the sort of things I try to put into my own reviews.

    Story

    Like all book reviews, I want to know what the book is about. Not too much, of course, just enough to give me a tease, a taste, a hint of what to expect from the book.

    Narration

    This, is essential. The main thing I look for in an audiobook review. Quite possibly the only reason I’m reading it. It. is. essential. I want to know who the reader is, first thing. Every time I go to my library’s website, I get so ticked off because they NEVER have the reader listed on ANY of their audiobooks. Next, I want to know if they did a good job. Did they use accents? Did their voice change for characters? Could you tell male from female? Did they transport you to another world? Will you listen to another book they read?

    That sort of stuff.

    Production Value

    Production value has become so good that honestly, I don’t even think about it with new books. Older books, however, are another story. I’ve listened to books where I could swear I faintly heard a telephone ring. I’ve listened to books where I could hear every single breath the reader took. While this isn’t always distracting, it’s still something I’d like to know about it.

    So, there you have it. The essentials of audiobook reviewing, in my humble opinion. What do you look for in audiobook reviews? What books have you been lead to listen to because of an audiobook review?

    See Jen’s blog for more answers to today’s question and more Audiobook Week goodness!

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    The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck

    June 26, 2012 Audio Books, Book Reviews 3

    In honor of Audiobook Week, I’m rerunning a few of my favorite audiobooks. The Good Earth was a very pleasant surprise and showed me that maybe all those classics I’d been wanting to read might be made more manageable if I read them with the audio. I have a couple more Pearl S. Buck books on my iPod and I can’t wait to get to them.


    The word epic was created for this book. No, not really… but it could have been. The Good Earth is epic in every sense of the word. The Good Earth tells the story of Wang Lung, a Chinese farmer and his family as they struggle to survive a peasant life in old China. It begins with Wang Lung looking at his old father saying, “I need a woman,” to him getting said woman, to them having lots of children. In between there are times of plenty, times of famine, births, deaths, and the acquiring of more land, more glorious land!  Wang Lung is obsessed with land! Okay, it’s about a whole lot more, but I don’t want to give too much away.

    And the writing. The writing is so beautiful. Witness:

    “There was only this perfect sympathy of movement, of turning this earth of theirs over and over to the sun, this earth which formed their home and fed their bodies and made their gods…Some time, in some age, bodies of men and women had been buried there, houses had stood there, had fallen, and gone back into the earth. So would also their house, some time, return into the earth, their bodies also. Each had his turn at this earth. They worked on, moving together-together-producing the fruit of this earth.”

    and

    “Wang Lung sat smoking, thinking of the silver as it had lain upon the table. It had come out of the earth, this silver, out of the earth that he ploughed and turned and spent himself upon. He took his life from the earth; drop by drop by his sweat he wrung food from it and from the food, silver. Each time before this that he had taken the silver out to give to anyone, it had been like taking a piece of his life and giving it to someone carelessly. But not for the first time, such giving was not pain. He saw, not the silver in the alien hand of a merchant in the town; he saw the silver transmuted into something worth even more than life itself – clothes upon the body of his son.”

    and

    “But Wang Lung thought of his land and pondered this way and that, with the sickened heart of deferred hope, how he could get back to it. He belonged, not to this scum which clung to the walls of a rich man’s house; nor did he belong to the rich man’s house. He belonged to the land and he could not live with any fullness until he felt the land under his feet and followed a plow in the springtime and bore a scythe in his hand at harvest.”

    Oh, I could quote the whole book at you. Every word, every sentence, felt so carefully constructed, so lovingly crafted. The main characters were so well written. This book was made for me. Or, rather, I was made for it. Either way you put it, I loved this book. The gardener in me loved the farmer in there. Wang Lung was born into a farming family and he embraced it. To say the land was the blood running through is veins is putting it VERY mildly. I have to say, loving land seems like such a Southern thing to me. That probably sounds narrow-minded, but I grew up hearing things like “Buy land, they won’t make any more of it,” and “Hold on to your land” etc, etc. My grandparents (who raised me) were Irish descendants, so I always assumed it was an Irish thing. Plus, I’ve never read a book set in China where someone was so obsessed with his land. Truthfully, I’ve never read a book where a character was so obsessed with land! I am thrilled to have finally read this book!

    Fair warning, we’re probably getting into spoiler territory, but I have to get this off my chest.

    The only thing I just couldn’t get over was the treatment of women. Wow, did the Chinese have a low opinion of girls and women. I felt for O-lan. Oh, how I felt for O-lan. Acquired from a great house where she was a kitchen slave, she did not find herself elevated very much upon becoming Wang Lung’s wife. He treated her like a possession. He consistently mistreated her. When she arises from giving birth to their first child, she comes back to the field to help. him. work. And does she get a thank you? No. She gets his silent admiration, which means nothing. He never appreciated her until she was gone. And that made me hate Wang Lung. There were many things I liked about him, but that. That was inexcusable. Makes me glad the revolution happened and I hope the Chinese have improved their attitudes.

    Okay, rant over.

    I listened to the audio production by Blackstone Audio. Anthony Heald read The Good Earth and did a marvelous job. I have never listened to him read a book before, but I will definitely seek him out in the future. I loved the way he did the old man, Wang Lung’s father. And he was able to feminize his voice for the women, despite having quite a deep voice. All in all, he made it a pleasure to listen to this book.

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    Audiobook Week – Your Audiobook Year

    June 25, 2012 Audio Books, Books 21

    Monday: 2011-2012, Your Audiobook Year

    Are you new to audiobooks in the last year? Have you been listening to them forever but discovered something new this year? Favorite titles? New times/places to listen? This is your chance to introduce yourself and your general listening experience.

    Oh no, audiobooks are old hat to me. I started listening to audiobooks around 12 years ago. I was commuting to college and the drive was SUCH a bore. I hate almost all of our local radio stations… no, make that all of them except the one that occasionally plays classical music… I had to find something to occupy my mind. I got out The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley (read by the brilliant Davina Porter) and was in love. I followed it with Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding (read by the amazing Barbara Rosenblat) and there was no looking back. I was an audiobook addict.

    Book blogging has only made me fall even deeper in love with it.

    So far this year, I’ve read 44 books. 17 of them have been audiobooks. One trend I’ve noticed before, but see it is becoming very clear with this year’s listening; I love to reread in audio. Here are the 17 books I’ve listened to so far this year. All of them have been favorites. In bold are the ones that are rereads.

    1. Little Princes: One Man’s Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal written and read by Conor Grennan
    4. A Killing Frost by John Marsden, read by Suzi Dougherty
    7. Shiver by Maggie Steifvater, read by Jenna Lamia, David LeDoux
    8. Darkness, Be My Friend by John Marsden, read by Suzi Dougherty
    10. The Graveyard Book written and read by Neil Gaiman
    13. The Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett, read by Stephen Briggs

    14. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, read by Wil Wheaton
    16. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, read by Carolyn McCormick
    18. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, read by Carolyn McCormick
    20. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins, read by Carolyn McCormick
    22. The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness, read by Nick Podehl
    27. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness, read by Nick Podehl and Angela Dawe
    33. Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness, read by Nick Podehl, MacLeod Andrews, and Angela Dawe

    34. If I Stay by Gayle Forman, read by Kirsten Potter
    36. Let’s Pretend this Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir written and read by Jenny Lawson
    39. Peter & Max by Bill Willingham, read by Wil Wheaton

    I am currently listening to A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (read by new discovery Jennifer Ikeda, who I am rapidly falling in love with as a reader) and yes, it is also a reread. I love to reread it audio because it allows to me to revisit a story I loved, to revisit old friends I loved, to see the story in new, unexpected ways through the talents of the reader, and, in the case of a continuing series, to remind myself of what came before.

    Many thanks to Jen for running Audiobook Week again. I don’t know how she does it! See her blog for more posts on today’s subject and check back tomorrow for more Audiobook love.

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    Ready Player One – Audiobook Review

    June 25, 2012 Audio Books, Books 7

    In honor of Audiobook Week, I’m rerunning a few of my favorite audiobooks. I loved Ready Player One so much I managed to convince my husband to give it a listen and he loved it too!


    This is one of those reviews where I’ve been sitting here going, “um…where do I begin?” And “what do I say?” And “I’ll never be able to make anyone want to read this book.”

    It can get kind of ugly when I get like that.

    This calls for my trusty standby method, which I rarely use because I feel it is not very effective. Gush and rave. Gush and rave. Because oh my goodness y’all. I am a child of the 80s and I ADORED THIS BOOK. And I completely and totally adored Wil Wheaton, the geek wizard who narrates the book.

    Okay. So. The year is 2044 and the world is jacked into the net like never before because WOW the real world? It’s ugly. Very ugly. Thanks to James Halliday, a Steve Jobs like character, there is a place to go. He created a virtual reality world where people work, go to school, play games and basically do all their living except for the bare necessities. Like everyone else, our main geeky geek Wade Wyatt, goes into the OASIS, this virtual world, and spends all his waking hours there. Wade is a, well, a nobody. He goes to school. He lives with his crazy aunt because his mom and dad died a long time ago. He doesn’t have a lot of friends and the ones he does have, he met in the OASIS. As in he’s never met them in real life. He is, by most standards, a loser. But he’s a SMART loser. And he’s just so darn LIKE-ABLE. He has underdog written all over his immersion suit.

    Like the rest of the world, Wade hopes to solve the greatest mystery of the times. When James Halliday died, he bequeathed his ENORMOUS fortune to the gamer who beats his game. Obsessed with the 80s and 80s culture (movies, games, music, books, and more are not safe), Halliday created a difficult series of riddles that must be solved to get the keys, open the gates, and win the prize. For years gamers have quested to find the prize, and no one, NO ONE, has made it to the first gate.

    Until Wade Wyatt.

    If you are a child of the 80s, ever lived in the 80s or no anything ABOUT the 80s, I can’t see how you can’t find something to love in this book. If you’ve played Ms Pac-man, watched a Matthew Broderick movie, listened to Rush, loved everything John Hughes, or played Dungeons and Dragons, or more, you will find something familiar in this book. And that is just. the. tip. of. the. iceberg. And even if you don’t know much about these things, and more, I don’t see how you wouldn’t love this book because at it’s heart, it’s a great story of a boy, and a girl, saving the universe. And, you know, themselves and such.

    And Wil Wheaton’s narration? Is masterful. I have found a new favorite narrator. And I loved it when the text referred to him. It was a like a magical Easter Egg (pun all KINDS of intended, if you’ve read the book) of fantastic fun.

    So, I’m sure I didn’t really convince you to read it. If I did, please let me know and boost my morale a bit. If you don’t love this book, I’ll eat my hat. If it’s made of Pop Rocks and Hubba Bubba and Tab.

    Yuck.

    Favorite quotes:

    Being human totally sucks most of the time. Videogames are the only thing that make life bearable.

    I watched a lot of YouTube videos of cute geeky girls playing ’80s cover tunes on ukuleles. Technically, this wasn’t part of my research, but I had a serious cute-geeky-girls-playing-ukuleles fetish that I can neither explain nor defend.

    Whenever I saw the sun, I reminded myself that I was looking at a star. One of over a hundred billion in our galaxy. A galaxy that was just one of billions of other galaxies in the observable universe. This helped me keep things in perspective.

    Continue your quest by taking the test

    Yes, but what test? What test was I supposed to take? The Kobayashi Maru? The Pepsi Challenge? Could the clue have been any more vague?”  ME: Do you have any idea how proud I was that I knew what the Kobayashi Maru was???? 

    I created the OASIS because I never felt at home in the real world. I didn’t know how to connect with the people there. I was afraid, for all of my life, right up until I knew it was ending. That was when I realized, as terrifying and painful as reality can be, it’s also the only place where you can find true happiness. Because reality is real.

    They read it:

    eclectic/eccentric (who says reading this made her miss World of Warcraft)

    Devourer of Books (who says “Wil Wheaton’s narration lends it that extra oomph, so get ahold of it in audio if you can.”)

    The Readventurer (who calls this book nostalgia porn, the best two word description ever)

    The 3 R’s Blog (who confesses to not being much of a gamer, but that the book was written in her language anyway)

    Other fun stuff:

    The Spotify Playlist for Ready Player One

    Ready Player One website

    Ready Player One Wikipedia entry

    Ready Player One Facebook page

    And lastly, the trailer:

     

     

     

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